Eat, Drink, and Age Gracefully: Modern Maturity Center’s Expansion Helps Bring Meals to Thousands of Dover Seniors

Imagine you live in a different state from aging loved ones. Do you worry about their ability to maintain their independence as they get older? Or that it will become harder to do everyday things like shop for groceries or visit friends?  If you have an aging parent or relative in the greater Dover, DE area, then you can rest a little easier knowing that the Modern Maturity Center (MMC) has been helping seniors in Dover thrive for over 30 years and is only continuing to expand. Instead of extended times of isolation or lack of ongoing events, area seniors are dancing the night away in the MMC ballroom, taking an art class, or connecting with friends on daytrips and extended travel tours. They are also getting needed care through one of the center’s many programs.

Modern Maturity Center’s multi-structure facility is the center of a busy hub of services and programs for Kent County’s elderly population. The center runs essential services like the Daybreak adult day program, a caregiver resource center, and the Senior Community Service Employment Center, as well as recreational activities, trips and outings, and an onsite nutrition program with low-cost meals for those over 60. MMC is also the meal-providing agency for Meals on Wheels in Kent County, a partnership that delivers over 300,000 meals annually to approximately 2,000 home-bound elderly clients.

The center is expanding its ability to support Meals on Wheels with a 1,700-square foot expansion to its back-of-house kitchen. Allen & Shariff, in collaboration with Becker Morgan Group’s architectural services, is providing MEP consulting support to design the HVAC, electrical, and plumbing systems for the kitchen expansion, which will improve workflow and capacity for the Meals on Wheels operations.

The challenges facing this segment of the project include uncertainty of the underground conditions and existing services and potential conflicts with the proposed foundation footings for the new expansion. A reduction in state funding adds another layer of challenge to the project, requiring the design teams to deliver a highly cost-conscious package with little to no room for contingencies. In spite of these challenges, Allen & Shariff is confident in the approach and the project and continues to move the work forward.

“Upon completion, the Meals on Wheels Addition will improve Modern Maturity’s workflow, giving more homebound senior citizens access to meals,” said Joseph Kramer, the lead designer from Allen & Shariff to work on the project. “It’s great to know that our work will have a direct and positive impact on the local community.” Allen & Shariff’s design of the kitchen’s essential MEP systems will translate into daily benefits for the staff using them.

Community is one of seven core values that Allen & Shariff considers central in its approach to its work and people. Projects like the Modern Maturity kitchen renovation and expansion help the company to live out this commitment to community, on the job and beyond.

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